Monday, May 15, 2006

If a Tree Grows in the Forest…

After 5 months without posting, I do not know if there is still anyone out there who would hear it if a tree fell in my forest. But I can’t resist making a joyful noise today to say that—on the contrary—the tree is growing very well indeed.

I am now exactly 34 weeks pregnant. At my OB appointment this morning, my doctor told me that if I were to go into labor now, they would do nothing to stop it. While the baby is not yet technically “term,” he is developed enough that he would not just survive but thrive if born now. Wow.

Afterwards, on the street, I ran into my RE, Dr. Cookie-Pie, the first time I’ve seen her since early December. She was thrilled at the sight of me, but actually kept repeating, “I can’t believe it.” She said, “as soon as we get this baby delivered we’re going to have to send you on the speakers’ circuit to give inspirational lectures to all the women who are on the brink of giving up hope.” It was a little disconcerting to have my main medical support person regarding this pregnancy as something close to miraculous, but at the same time it validated my own ongoing sense of pleasurable disbelief.

Once the nausea wore off completely (at about week 16) I began what, at least from the outside, seems to be an entirely normal and complication-free pregnancy. And though I have mostly spent it holding my breath, nothing of note has occurred. Even my moods, always so mercurial, have been remarkably stable.

It is just now hitting me that the long longing may at last be nearing an end. While I will always think of myself as infertile, I may soon be stripped of the title “Her Barreness” on account of having a babe in arms.

I feel filled now with hopes and fears: hopes for a new life of love and a new sense of grounding, fears about labor and delivery, about the possibility of post-partum depression, or even just garden-variety psychic disorientation. I’m afraid of the fact that life will never be the same, and afraid even of the fact that I may not wish it could be. I can’t wait to meet the little person I carry in my body, but I am anxious about getting to know the person I myself am about to become.

So, in this time of transition, I find myself filled with the urge to reach out to all those who helped me to get to this point. So many wonderful flesh and blood friends have stepped up to share this time of joyful anticipation. But it’s the virtual folk out there in the ether who were there with me through so many truly dark days. I want you to know how grateful I will always be for that fellowship and how often I think of you all, vivid characters in a story we wrote together.

If you’re still struggling, please know that while nature may be maddeningly inefficient, (and when it comes to human emotion horribly indifferent) you can also always count on what Kahlil Gibran called “life’s longing for itself.” You may remember a piece I wrote last spring about the doomed maple saplings springing up all over the lawn. What I didn’t mention then is that a few also took root in an abandoned flowerpot. They sprouted there for a month or more until finally the summer heat withered them away. I never watered them, much less transplanted them. I was angry at empty symbols and unwilling to lavish care on mere plants when my own womb remained a dry and desolate place. So imagine my bemused surprise this past weekend, when I uncovered those same pots under a pile of dead leaves and found growing there some very sturdy-stemmed maple saplings. Somehow, it seems, the roots had survived when the first year’s leaves died.

I don’t know what exactly my plans are, if any, for the continuation of this blog. But I wanted to leave a note for any old friends who might happen by, just to say thanks, I’m still here, and I’m almost in the clear.